How to Clean Oily Rags

When we work on cars and bikes, we usually end up with dirty or oily rags, especially when your daily works require you to work in the garage. This is really very annoying because the oils from the rag become stubborn and won’t go simply. You neither can toss it inside of your washing machine to clean it up. So, how to clean oily rags? Well, there is a specific way to clean the oily rags and make them good as new. If you want to learn that process, you just have to read this guide till the end. Nothing else, so if you are ready, we can start out.

How to Clean Oily Rags

If you are a handyman, carpenter, or work in any profession where you use cloths made of cotton fabric to clean up messes, then this article is for you. In the following paragraphs we will discuss how to clean oily rags after they have absorbed oil from machinery or oily substances.

Some people might think that you should throw the rag away after it absorbs oil, but to those individuals, I say not so fast. You can actually clean these rags if you follow a few simple steps.

How To Clean Oily Rags – Steps to Follow

First of all, you have soaked up the excess oil with another unused rag or an old towel. Then take a bucket and put some water and soap inside of it. You can also use a degreaser if you have any in your home. Now, clean them properly until you notice the oils are gone completely… Once completed this process hang outside for air drying or near a heating source like furnace or heater as opposed to a dryer (due to fire risks). If still find oily residue left on the fabric we recommend using baking soda and water to scrub the rag until all oil is gone.

How To Clean Oily Rags

Next, rinse with cold water, then hang it up outside or beside a cooling vent so that you can remove any excess moisture from the fabric before they get too soggy. You want them to be as dry as possible because that’s going to help prevent mildewing in storage or when hung on your clothe sline for reuse.

Precautions to Clean Oily Rags:

  • Do not use dryers (can burn up the rag)
  • Hang outside to air dry or near a heating source like a furnace or heater as opposed to a dryer.
  • After cleaning, rinse with cold water and then hang them up outside or beside a cooling vent so that you can remove any excess moisture from the fabric before they get too soggy.
Clean Oily Rags

Benefits of Cleaning Oily Rags:

  • Save your clothes from getting oily on them over time, which could make stains difficult to clean out. The oils left behind will also impart their odor onto everything else in storage nearby if you don’t take care of it promptly! You may even find fibers sticking together by residual oil after some time because of the oil’s adhesive quality.
  • Be proactive about your dry cleaning, which will save you a lot of time and money in the long run!

Things to Avoid:

  • Bleach is not recommended for use with oily rags because it can cause them to disintegrate after prolonged exposure. It also has an unpleasant smell that could linger on clothes or other fabrics nearby when used improperly.
  • If you must use bleach, make sure they are covered up so that only one side is exposed while soaking, and keep the solution light enough so as not to break down fibers too quickly. You should never soak oily rags overnight in any type of chemical agent whatsoever; doing this risks damaging both fabric strength and color over time if left untreated due to prolonged exposure.
  • Be sure to hang your rags outside in the sun and wind for a couple of hours before you set them near any sources of heat, such as furnace vents or hot water pipes. This will help dry out most of the moisture from the inside, which can also lead to discoloration over time if not dealt with properly.
How To Clean Oily Rags


You can use a few simple steps to clean oily rags. First, dump the dirty water and rinse out any remaining material that is still in the rag then fill it with hot soapy water and scrub for about two minutes. Next, you should dry your wet rag by wringing out all of the excess liquid onto paper towels or using a clothesline outside on a sunny day. If you want to make sure your rags are completely free from oil residue afterward, repeat this process one more time before washing them in cold water and drying them again until they are fully dried! Hopefully, these tips help you get rid of those dirty oily rags once and for all!

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